SDCC 2013 Avatar the Last Airbender: Beginning and Beyond Fan Panel
Panelists: Alisa Christopher, Naoko Kawano and Chifuyu Sasaki (both are part of the illustration team, Gurihiru) with their translator, Gene Luen Yang, Sifu Kisu, Sifu Manuel Rodriguez, Jack DeSena, Mae Whitman, Dante Basco, and Dee Bradley Baker. Moderated by Avatar_Mom.
The transcript was done using the recording provided by SiWongDesert on YouTube.
I've left out the 'ums', 'uhs', and odd moments of minor verbal stumbling for the sake of clarity. Occasionally, there are moments when a speaker is inaudible either due to moving away from their microphone, the crowd's cheers, a combination of both or that the speaker is mumbling/talking too fast to be heard. Those moments will be indicated with [inaudible].
(The guy dressed as Cabbage Merchant says something inaudible.)
Avatar_Mom: Talk to me, direct message me 'cos I really owe you one. (steps to the podium and speaks into the microphone) Okay, so right now, we're waiting for them to actually bring in the guests, they're in a special holding place. [inaudible as the guests chuckle] to keep them safe from the fanboys and girls. I'm actually gonna go grab a couple of the guests and bring them up now and one of them is Lisa Christopher who is a fan artist from deviantArt.
(Audience cheers and applauds as Alisa goes on stage and takes a seat at the panelist's table.)
Avatar_Mom: Aw, I called her Lisa instead of Alisa. I'm sorry, I do that all the time. And then actually I have Gurihiru again and I don't know where they are. I think they're at the wrong booth but Gene Yang is here as well. [inaudible as audience cheers] I'm gonna go grab him, he might still be outside. Does anyone want to check and see if Gene is still hanging outside? Bring him here for me? You all know what Gene looks like, right?
Audience member: Yeah, I know what Gene looks like.
(The guy cosplaying Cabbage Merchant places a panelist's name triangle on the podium with the name facing the audience and A_M quickly turns it over so the name is hidden.)
Avatar_Mom: Thank you. [inaudible] Don't tell them that.
Avatar_Mom: Basically what we usually do is we started (The Cabbage Merchant takes the name triangle from the podium and waves it from behind A_M's back) a long time ago, about seven years ago.
(Audience laughs and A_M turns her head back and the Cabbage Merchant cosplay stops what he's doing and puts the name triangle back on the table)
Avatar_Mom: How many of you have seen Puppetbenders? (audience cheers and claps) The wonderful gentleman Kevin Coopa who started Puppetbenders (points of a name triangle Cabbage Merchant is holding) Kevin. He can't be here today but- (audience awws) He's my partner in this and we've been doing this for seven years. We've decided a really long time ago that the fandom was so rich with creativity that (The camera angles pans to the left to show Gene walking into the room) we just did not want it to putter out, we wanted the fire to keep going. So that's why we started the fan panel. And we always have our wonderful guests from the fan community and we sort of marry it with the professional community, kinda making it one whole. And so we always invite someone from the fan community and we always have the great professionals- (The Gurihiru team sit at the panelists table) Hello girls, hello! And so, Gurihiru has said that they come back again and they're going to talk with us for a moment, answer questions and their translator- Hi! There should be a seat right over here. And then Gene Yang, you all know Gene Yang from "The Promise" and "The Search".
(Audience cheers and whoops)
Avatar_Mom: Kevin wanted to be here but he couldn't. Kevin's very ill and he actually had surgery and so if you guys could- just all say a real happy "Get well, Kevin!" and just shout it out so that everyone who's recording here could put it on YouTube and make him feel like he's in a much better place than the hospital right now. So, don't break [inaudible] or anything but one, two, three- Get well Kevin!
Audience: Get well Kevin!
Avatar_Mom: Actually, one of the greatest things that happened to Puppetbenders recently is on the blu-ray DVD for Korra, have you guys seen that? (Audience cheers) So that's [inaudible] or something fandom actually became canon. Okay, so we have a powerpoint that goes along with all of our speakers and you can look at that if you want to, it's not just a pic of Kevin being raised in the air. But basically it shows a little bit of the work that some of our guests did. It's nothing fancy, it's just some screenshots and some images. So we're just gonna go down the line and they're gonna introduce themselves. So we're gonna start off with Alisa, I'm going to say it right this time. (A_M, Alisa, and Gene turn to look at the powerpoint) And this should be Alisa's work. Alisa do you have a microphone or do you wanna share it?
(Camera pans to the powerpoint to showcase Alisa cosplaying Yue in the snow)
Alisa Christopher: It's good.
Avatar_Mom: Okay, this is Alisa's work and she's gonna tell you a little bit about herself and how she got started. And everyone's gonna do that down the line.
Alisa Christopher: So, hi, I'm Alisa, (An artwork of Katara is now on the screen and it fades every now and then to reveal other artworks of Alisa) I've been a fan of the actual series since well, before the original episode aired. I had a porfolio review at Nickelodeon's booth at WonderCon the year of the premiere and I just was stunned by the art style. It was something that I already developed kind of for myself with the influences that I already had with [inaudible] Penny from ElfQuest and a lot of anime that I watched at the time and some of the Disney work like Gargoyles. So the Avatar artistic style was something that I already kind of done and I saw the show and the choreography for the fighting game and everything like that has really spoke to me so one of the first things that I did was I did some pixel art and not that one specifically (there's an image on the screen showcasing chibi Avatar characters in a fighting game) but I drew some pixel art and put it on deviantArt. It just kinda went from there. Right now I'm actually working for a startup company called Fat Cat GameWorks. I'm working on a game based off a Dr. McNinja web comic. I don't know if any of you guys read it, it's actually pretty fun. And one of these days I hope to be able to actually make an Avatar or a Korra game. See if we, you know, could get Nickelodeon or Viacom to give us the, you know, okay to make that kind of a game, that would be really cool. I love making costumes. You know I love the stuff that you guys have done, I actually had a lot of fun in that last panel you guys had sat in because creatures and puppets and things like that is something that has always fascinated me so I wished those guys could have worked on the live-action movie instead of you know (inaudible as the audience cheers in agreement)
(A_M says something inaudible as she moves her mouth away from the microphone to talk to Alisa)
Avatar_Mom: Is it alright to introduce Gurihiru again. Thank you so much for coming back and visiting (inaudible as the audience claps)
(Chifuyu Sasaki talks into the microphone)
Gurihiru translator: She's happy to be back again.
(The audience and panelists clap. Naoko Kawano talks as well.)
Gurihiru translator: She's a little nervous but actually Avatar and Korra, they didn't have it on TV in Japan so it's a great chance for her to see the fans here and she didn't really have the chance to, you know to see the fans. She's really happy to be back and she's really thanking everybody for coming.
Avatar_Mom: [inaudible] with us for the fan panel so we're really really excited to have him. How many of you have read the Dark Horse continuations of the series?
(Audience cheers and claps)
Avatar_Mom: Gene works with Gurihiru to create the stories that you're seeing. Right now there are the Search Part 2 which we won't spoil anyone about that but we will read later from The Search 1 so if you haven't read from it, I'm sorry but we'll read a little bit from it. Gene Yang, everybody.
Gene Yang: Thank you, thanks for being here, you guys must have wait in line forever. Thank you [inaudible] I'm especially happy that Doctor Doom has come out to see me. (Audience laughs) because I've been a fan of Doctor Doom since I was little, I'm a big fan of your work. (Audience laughs again) I first came- I first found out about the Avatar, I was a high school teacher for years and years and years and I teach computer science and students would come into my lab and talk about this crazy Nickelodeon show and I would say, "You're in high school, what are you doing [inaudible as audience chuckles]" And then they would debate things about you know, who Katara would end up with, who would be [inaudible as audience laughs] and all this kind of stuff and I would go "Get back to work!" but inside I would be thinking "That sounds kind of interesting." Then a couple of years later, a friend of mine Derek Kirk Kim, who is also a cartoonist, he is an amazing cartoonist. He loaned me the DVDs and within three episodes, I was a fan, I was hooked. When the movie came out, I was excited when I heard it but when I heard about the casting, I was not excited at all.
Gene Yang: There's this web comic about "Why I Wouldn't Be Watching The Last Airbender Movie" and that's actually kind of how I got this job. An editor at Dark Horse had read my comics before. She read "American Born Chinese" and she really liked it. And then she knew all the fans of the Avatar world because of that web comic that I did. So she called me up and asked me if I would be willing to write this comic for them and I freaked out, it was amazing! It was like, it was awesome! It's been a joy, it's been an absolute joy working with Gurihiru and with Mike and Bryan. The best part of the job is that when I send Mike and Bryan emails, they email me back.
(Audience chuckles and the panelists talk amongst themselves.)
Avatar_Mom: Oh, I'm sorry everybody. Okay, usually I'm very organized. I was surprised by the way we have to make accommodations for this room today. So your patience, believe me, it's humbling me right now. We're just gonna try to do some things with the seating. (Addresses the current panelists) You can continue talking if you want to, think of some questions that you can do for the Questions & Answers session, I'm just trying to get our next wave of talents that are going to come in.
Gene Yang: So we can answer questions?
Avatar_Mom: Yeah, so you can answer a couple of questions. So, let me think, I think we're gonna do two questions while we're waiting for things to start. So anybody have any questions for our panel right now?
(Gene points to someone in the audience.)
Gene Yang: Korra?
Fan #1: Yeah.
Fan #1: Well yes. (Audience chuckles) My question is, I mean I know that the fans are very outspoken like all over the internet. Has the way the fans have reacted to the show like their- what they want, what they like, change the way like you write or create or draw or kind of like, do your thing.
(Gurihiru's translator talks to the Gurihiru duo and Gene helps out)
Gene Yang: The fan reactions to change.
(Gurhiriu's translator continues to talk to the artists)
Gene Yang: Well, for me. (pauses) For the writing in every-every book starts with a conversation between me and Mike and Bryan and the editors at Dark Horse and Nickelodeon and I think that's the basis. That's the basis of all the writing that I gotta do. In terms of fan reactions, I do feel like, maybe not all over the internet but I do feel like I learn a lot from interacting with fans personally and from their reactions about things. So I think [inaudible] I feel like the way I approach- the way I approach the latest comics is different from how I approached "The Promise". Just because of everything that I've learned, from the entire experience, including my interactions.
(Chifuyu Sasaki answers the question in Japanese followed by Naoko Kawano.)
Gurihiru's translator: They actually check the fan reactions and they actually read it and respond to some of the art and actually- most of it happened in the phase or the [inaudible] of drawing Zuko's bruise and so they actually changed it. So in the hardcover they create- but that's because of the fan's reactions. They didn't recognize that they forgot to draw it in but they were able to change it and made the correction on the hardcover so they were glad that the fans told them.
Avatar_Mom: I have time for one more question. Anybody?
(Gene points to a cosplayer in the audience again)
Gene Yang: Kyoshi has her hand up.
Avatar_Mom: Okay, Kyoshi. [inaudible]
(Audience and panelists laugh)
Fan #2: Uh yeah...
(Based on the voice, it turns out a male cosplayer is cosplaying Kyoshi and everyone chuckles. )
Fan #2: We also have a question. You all have a hardback for The Promise Part 1, 2, and 3. Would there be a hardback for The Search Part 1, 2, and 3?
(The Gurihiru team talk amongst themselves briefly before Gene answers)
Gene Yang: I don't think we're allowed to talk about that.
(Audience laughs but Gene gives a smile)
Gene Yang: Yes, absolutely.
Avatar_Mom: Right now we're going to clear this- the panel and we're gonna have them sit down. And so if you have [inaudible] some of the people that they would [inaudible] the seats for our guests to sit, thank you so much. They're gonna move down and sit where you're sitting now. And we'll bring in the next wave of celebrities and [inaudible]
(The audience claps as the current panelists move down to the seats in the audience)
Avatar_Mom: I know, everything's a little weird, I know. Okay, next year we're getting a bigger room.
Avatar_Mom: This one happened [inaudible] Okay, so I wanna bring up a couple of people right away. Sifu Kisu, if you would please?
Avatar_Mom: And actually, anyone that is sitting by the screen, Kisu is going to be doing moves over there and you might want to stay clear a bit.
(Kisu gets up on stage and gives a sly nod. The audience laughs.)
Sifu Kisu: Hi!
Avatar_Mom: And I know a lot of you know Kisu's very influential with martial arts coordination for martial- For martial? For Avatar: The Last Airbender but I don't know if you noticed this but people in the martial arts community actually watch Avatar and they know- wait- Did Sifu coordinate for the show? That's how signature his moves are. So he'll talk to you a little bit about the beginning and some of his experience on the show and then I'd like to bring out some of our special guests now. Who are also part of the show, some alumni.
Avatar_Mom: I'm not going to introduce who they are. They're just going to come up there. (A_M laughs) I have a feeling there will be a lot of noise if I say anything at this point.
(Audience awws for a bit and then they start to cheer as Mae Whitman, Jack DeSena, and Dante Basco get on stage. Dante exchanges greetings with Kisu. The audience cheers louder and the voice actors wave to the audience.)
Sifu Kisu: Rufio!
(Audience starts to chant "Rufio!" over and over. Dante waves.)
Avatar_Mom: See? I was totally right.
(Someone in the audience makes a noise going "Cock a doodle doo".)
Avatar_Mom: Okay, let's get started. Let's hear what Kisu has to say about his experience with the show and we'll move that way.
Sifu Kisu: First of all, I love Avatar [inaudible]
(Audience cheers and whoops)
Sifu Kisu: And I worked on Avatar and we had some really incredible results from a major collaboration of superior talents and another big topic but I'll answer a couple of questions if anyone wants to [inaudible]
Mae Whitman: Did you invite Dee also?
Avatar_Mom: Yeah! Dee, you could [inaudible]
(Jack beckons Dee in the audience)
Mae Whitman: [inaudible as the audience is cheering loudly]
Jack DeSena: Dee Bradley Baker, ladies and gentlemen.
(Dee Bradley Baker walks up to the stage and greets and hugs each voice actor. Sifu Kisu however, is pre-occupied with talking to A_M and doesn't notice Dee until he turns around.)
Sifu Kisu: Oh my god!
(Kisu greets Dee and gives him a hug)
Dee Bradley Baker: (in Tarrlok's voice) It'll be just like old times.
Sifu Kisu: Oh my god, this is Dee Bradley Baker!
(Dee greets and hugs A_M)
Sifu Kisu: You guys grew up.
(The audience laughs)
[One of the panelists talk but it is inaudible]
Unknown panelist: (off screen) Except for Dee.
Avatar_Mom: Do you think that would be okay?
Sifu Kisu: Absolutely.
Avatar_Mom: Okay, and we have somebody else that you probably haven't met before 'cos he doesn't come out to many of these conventions. Sifu Manuel.
(Audience cheers and Manuel greets everyone with a kung fu bow. The panelists briefly re-adjust their seats to accommodate Manuel.]
Avatar_Mom: Perfect. I love how everybody is playing Tetris up here today.
Avatar_Mom: It's like celebrity-bending Okay, we're going to let Kisu go ahead. Did you have any signature moves that you developed just for the show? Can you look at it here and say that was me, I did all that.
Sifu Kisu: Mostly anything that had to do with martial arts and dynamic movements was- came from- I guess the rough experience that we did for the show so I'm pretty much responsible for all that except for Bryan Konietzko who's my student for four years. A couple of them knew martial arts as well. He's like real squirrel-y, he's a squirrel-y bender.
Avatar_Mom: I like that, squirrel-y bender. So when they came to with Toph and explained what her abilities would be, did you immediately think of Sifu Manny?
Sifu Kisu: Well, I've met Manuel one time before and I met him and punched him in the chest which is what he does when he greets you. I was very impressed and when they came over to the Toph character, they wanted something really unusual and I said, "Well, my friend practices very specific series of movements that are very unusual." (Kisu turns to Manuel and asks a question) And that was actually made by a blind practitioner, a blind woman?
Sifu Manuel: It's a... Chuka is actually the style of the royal family of the Ming Dynasty. And it's very rare Hakka style, I don't know how many of you know what Hakka is, but people from Northern China that escape to the South after a revolution. And the Ming Dynasty [inaudible] 1336 to 1644 and was developed in that time period for the royal family in the Ming Dynasty but what's interesting about it is that it relies heavily on touch and feel and some of the famous masters were women who were blind. So that's why the system fit the character so well. And the unusual movements have a special movement that involves sliding on the floor so that if you were wearing long robes, and if- so if you were in an imperial courtroom, you'll still be able to defend yourself. So the system is specifically designed for the royal family of the Ming Dynasty. It fit the character so well. And so, Kisu got hold of me and I was interviewed with Bryan and Mike and they decided to use the character. With my style.
Avatar_Mom: When did you start? When did you feel that martial arts was your calling and do you also do coordination for other shows?
Sifu Manuel: I worked with Neil [inaudible] for "Plays", he's a award winning director who [inaudible] and I cheoreographed fight scenes for him but Avatar was the first time I ever did anything with any kind of animation. It was my first experience.
Avatar_Mom: Did you like it?
Sifu Manuel: I really enjoyed it. It was- I had a great time at taking apart my art and trying to apply it to a character in my head and there's something I would like to say about that. I purposely did not watch any of the show until it was over. Because I had an idea in my head that I didn't want to be changed or disturbed. Because working so well, I did not want to be influenced by the show, I wanted to keep that image in my head on who I thought Toph was.
Avatar_Mom: Wow. That really applies to her character. I mean, we all love Toph.
(Audience cheers and claps)
Avatar_Mom: I'm a fan, so to say. Before we move on to our guests to do the voice acting, do you have questions Kisu and Manuel? Manuel and Kisu? Sifu Kisu?
Fan #3: Hello, I- I thought it would be good for everybody else to know but style-wise between the first series and the second Korra airbender. What was the difference as far as like- Was there anything special for the league of fighting-wise or anything like that.
Sifu Kisu: That's a really, really good question.
Fan #3: Oh yeah.
Sifu Kisu: When we first began the show, we wanted to give the show at least the magical bending a place in reality and so we felt that rather than just twinkle your nose and something would happen like a boulder flies through the air from a movie I won't name. (audience laughs) We wanted to come from somewhere and go to. Come from, go to. And have the essence of this origin and creationand so we were very specific about Hung Ga which was very- a strong style- and stout people. Really like body builder big from doing Hung Ga so, there we were. And airbending, I had just learned Ba Gua at the time so we wanted to do something really light (Kisu does a rotating palm flower hand movement with his hands) and kind of airy. You know, apply that to each one of those and when we came to the second season, the creators wanted to broaden our base and make it more dynamic, I'm getting old after all.
Sifu Kisu: So we brought in the tricking kids that did the air[inaudible] stuff, some of the knife spinning stuff for the probending and I think it was Jeremy Humpreys who's a crazy [inaudible] and a vegetarian. Red Neck [inaudible], thank you very much. If you don't know, that's the magnificant Bill Rinaldi who films everything we do [inaudible as audience whoops]
Sifu Kisu: That's your answer.
Fan #3: [inaudible] demonstrate for the audience and can I be your punching bag?
Sifu Kisu: (humors the fan and points to Manuel) You can be his punching bag.
Avatar_Mom: Actually, we have somebody in mind 'cos last year if you recall, we had a young Toph come up so we would like to have somebody younger and smaller to fit in that area. [inaudible] Are you Kyoshi or-
Fan #4: I'm Kyoshi too, it's all in the headdress. When you were developing like the other branches of bending, like sandbending, metalbending, bloodbending and that whole- branch, did you guys have to change the style at all or were you guys able to still apply the same martial arts?
Sifu Kisu: We did bloodbending, that's a subject very close to my heart, that was a really creepy episode. Literally used the moves from traditional Tai Chi like the (demonstrates his hands going down) pressing down movement with kind of like creepy and that's actually where were got the hand to hand [inaudible] What's that move called?
Sifu Manuel: Grasping the sea cucumber at the bottom of the sea.
Sifu Kisu: Grasping the sea cucumber at the bottom of the sea, actually.
Sifu Manuel: Use your imagination.
Avatar_Mom: So we're [inaudible]
Fan #5: Alright so I am a martial artist as well and I know like the show is like [inaudible] on the scale and I know everyone has been asking about the styles. I want to know how did you two get your start in martial arts?
Sifu Kisu: I... got beat up a lot when I was younger, [inaudible] in a rough neighbourhood. [inaudible] we just came to this country. I went through a lot of rough struggles and so I was sent off to karate school and got the chance to learn how to own my own space more or less and defend myself. And got deeply involved in it for self defence and one day I looked up and I could defend myself and I started to branch out into the [inaudible] part of it, the healing part of it and I was not looking for a job on television. I was minding my own business in my backyard in LA, teaching a small group of people. And this kid started talking to me about some TV show he worked on and I was like "Yeah right, buddy [inaudible]"
Sifu Kisu: And he came up with a storyboard for this and like seriously, if you want to know how to live your dreams in this life, do what you like, nothing else. Don't worry about where the money's gonna come from or you know, your fame or fortune, do what you like. And that's all I was doing, minding my own frickin' business and now I'm sitting here talking to you.
(Audience whoops and applauds)
Sifu Manuel: My story is quite similar. I grew up in East Harlem, New York City 99th in Lexington when Spanish Harlem was Spanish Harlem. There wasn't too many Mexicans there and mostly Puerto Ricans, not Mexicans.
Sifu Kisu: I have to say this, he learned his kung fu the hard way from a Chinatown Mafia hitman. I can say that [inaudible]
Sifu Manuel: My teacher was a very "sociable" person. (He and the audience laugh) I learned in Chicago Chinatown when I came across- but my martial arts starting was my mother, she put me in a martial arts school, just like Kisu's family did because I lived in a very rough time and a very rough neighborhood and my first martial art was karate. I have a second degree black belt in [inaudible] karate, that's how I started. And then later on in [inaudible] judo. Finally when I moved, of all places, to the cornfields of the Midwest, [inaudible] state of Illinois, was a little Chinese restaurant and that's where I got my beginnings of kung fu. (He laughs) If you can believe that, that's how it happened. That's how it happened, I asked a man that was cooking fried rice to teach me kung fu.
Avatar_Mom: Who would like to see some moves from these two gentlemen?
Avatar_Mom: [inaudible] a place to sit, there's a couple of seats open. And then we have a young lady who's going to join our two wonderful masters and she's gonna learn some bending. Alright, can [inaudible as A_M walks away from the podium and off the stage] So Kisu and Manuel, come right over here.
(Kisu and Manuel head off stage and they stand in front of a little space in front of the screen)
Avatar_Mom: I think your dad's getting the camera ready.
(Kisu stops behind the three voice actors and he talks to Jack who pours him a cup of water.)
Avatar_Mom: Alright, come on.
(Awws in the audience can be heard and camera pans to Sifu Manuel who greets the young girl who's the volunteer for the demonstration.)
Sifu Manuel: So are you ready to learn some earthbending?
(The girl nods and Manuel proceeds to get into a stance by sliding his right foot forward and the girl follows.)
Sifu Manuel: [inaudible] right foot, turn your toes. (He places his hands out in front of him with his palms facing him.) Hands this way, and [inaudible Cantonese term] Beggar's hand, right? [inaudible]
(Manuel adjusts his stance a bit so his left hand is now higher than his right hand and he rotates his hands in a circular motion inwards and at the end, his right hand is now higher than his left and his palm is facing outwards, as if he's pushing an invisible opponent backwards.)
Sifu Manuel: In, pop!
(The girl attempts to do the rotation and Manuel steps in help re-adjust her stance.
Sifu Manuel: This is called 'Beik Hu Xiong'. Say 'Beik Hu Xiong'.
Little Girl: Beik Hu Xiong.
Sifu Manuel: Beik Hu is a gecko that walks on the wall. (Manuel gets back into the stance and repeats the movement a couple more times) So you climb one, two! One, two!
(He stops and helps to correct the girl's stance again)
Sifu Manuel: Do it again. Turn the waist, (Manuel gently turns the girl's waist inwards during the rotation) fire! (He helps the girl with her arm movements as the volunteer moves her hips in sync with the momentum) One, two! Okay, stay there. Alright here, (Manuel rotates his hands again and brings his right leg back in) 'Tang Sao'.
(The girl follows the movement)
Sifu Manuel: That's it. (Manuel turns his wrists so his palms are now facing down) Turn... (Pushes his pointers out rapidly) and finger poke. There you go.
(The audience cheers and applauds. Manuel ends the demonstration and gives the girl a little affectionate pat on her head before shaking her hand.)
Sifu Manuel: Kisu, you wanna show her something?
Sifu Kisu: Um... yah.
(Audience laughs and Manuel says something but his voice is drowned out by the audience. Manuel walks off screen and Kisu enters the frame before placing his bag on the stage and then kneeling down beside the girl with his hands open in a 'flower' position. The girl looks at Kisu and starts to kneel as well.)
Sifu Kisu: You can stand up.
(The audience laughs again. Sifu then rotates his wrists left and right in a circle. The audience ooos and aaas.)
Sifu Kisu: A little airbending.
(The audience ooos and ahhs. Kisu slowly rotates his wrists in a full circle)
Sifu Manuel: (off screen) Mui Fa Sao.
Sifu Kisu: It's a palm flower hand.
(Kisu rotates faster and faster but the girl is confused so she improvises by rotating her hands in a circle without her wrists touching each other. The audience chuckles. Kisu continues to do the movements and then ends it by standing up with a kick. The audience whoops and everyone claps.)
Avatar_Mom: Okay, isn't that awesome? Did you like that? Did you like-
(Audience interrupts by shouting 'yeah!' and clapping at the same time.)
Avatar_Mom: [inaudible] camera up here and then we're going to bring up some more people in a moment. Before I do that, I'd like to introduce the voice actors.
(Audience cheer and claps once more. The panelists applaud as well.)
Avatar_Mom: There's a face here that we haven't had before and that's Mr. Jack DeSena.
(Mae whoops loudly and the audience cheers.)
Avatar_Mom: How about everybody go down the line and introduce themselves. Go ahead.
(Mae points towards Dee Bradley Baker)
Mae Whitman: You go first.
Avatar_Mom: Dee. Oh, and just from now on if you ever do a panel with me, just work from Avatar_Mom down. So go ahead, Dee?
Dee Bradley Baker: Yeah, hi, I'm Dee and I wanna say two things. The first thing is (uses Tarrlok's voice) "It will be just like old times"
Dee Bradley Baker: The second thing I wanna say: Secret Tunnel!
(The audience go wild.)
Dee Bradley Baker: Yeah, I did the voice on the creatures and Tarrlok. And I brought you guys a gift and this is for somebody and I don't know who this is for but this is a very unique gift. This is the first script of our first read of Legend of Korra and-
(Dee is interrupted by screams in the audience)
Dee Bradley Baker: And...
(Audience are still super excited)
Dee Bradley Baker: And it's signed by my daughter, Cora, who voiced as Korra. She says "I'm the Avatar, you gotta deal with it.", that's her part.
(The audience cheer and whoop.)
Dee Bradley Baker: [inaudible] I don't know, I mean she's never signed anything for anyone. This is the only autograph of-
Jack DeSena: Adorable handwriting!
Mae Whitman: Yes.
Dee Bradley Baker: It has hearts on and everything so I don't know if you wanna give that for the competition that you have or somebody. This is for somebody here. It's really for all of you. I know I caught some hands going up but I brought this as my gift to you guys because you're so marvellous in keeping this alive and growing and thriving in such a marvellous way.
Avatar_Mom: We can definitely put that for our first prize winner for the competition-
(Audience whoops loudly again. Everyone claps.)
Jack DeSena: Hello, I'm Jack DeSena. I-
(Audience interrupts by cheering again.)
Jack DeSena: I played Sokka and-
(The audience cheers once more)
Jack DeSena: And I have no gifts but lots of things.
(The audience laughs)
Mae Whitman: I have one thing to say: (in Katara's voice) "Earth, Fire, Water, Air" That's it.
Mae Whitman: My name is Mae Whitman and I play Katara. So yeah...
(Audience whoops and applauds)
Mae Whitman: So happy to be here, this is like definitely my favorite event of comic con 'cos you guys are all so cool and fun and I love hanging out with this group the most so thanks for having me back.
(Audience and panelists clap)
Dante Basco: Hello.
(The audience laughs and cheers)
Dante Basco: I'm Dante Basco, I play Prince Zuko.
Dante Basco: I love coming to this panel and [inaudible] I'm happy to be here.
Dante Basco: Did you guys say something?
Mae Whitman: Say something.
Jack DeSena: (points to the screen) Just [inaudible]
Mae Whitman: Explain yourself.
(The audience goes "Ohhh")
Mae Whitman: Who is that, Zuko?
Dante Basco: Why am I so good at being bad?
(Audience laughs for a moment and they cheer. Camera quickly pans to the screen but the image has already faded to another picture.)
Mae Whitman: Shout out for when I was Rose to his Jake Long, guys.
(Audience cheers and claps)
Mae Whitman: Yes, I can't get away from this guy.
Dante Basco: I don't know [inaudible as audience are loud] the second and I also... rap. No, that's actually for the- No, and that's me. [inaudible as audience chuckle] And I have two shirts.
Avatar_Mom: Okay, so last year we had a comics read through so we're going to bring up a couple of readers to sit with our wonderful guests so we're gonna ask Sifu Kisu and Sifu Manuel if they would sit down in the audience (Kisu stands up and gives a bow) and then Gene... We need someone to play Iroh, would you play Iroh for us?
Gene Yang: (off screen) Sure.
Avatar_Mom: And did you only find one reader or two [inaudible]
(A_M takes a stack of comics in her hands and distributes it to the voice actors)
Avatar_Mom: So okay, basically we are going to read from The Search Part 1 [inaudible] And then there's a bookmark where we're gonna begin reading and we're gonna end at [inaudible] We don't want to go too long 'cos we're running against time.
(The audience chatter amongst themselves as the volunteers and voice actors get ready for the live reading of the comic.)
Avatar_Mom: Okay, we're gonna actually start from page 33 to 42 and then, could we have someone who wants to read for Azula? Did you find Azula's- I mean, I'll play Azula.
Audience member: Yeah!
(A volunteer walks up anyway)
Avatar_Mom: Okay, come on up. You have to stand, is that okay?
Unknown panelist: Will they get to see the visuals along?
Avatar_Mom: Okay, so I had a powerpoint with all the slides with this but apparently it's disappeared so I guess that's great, [inaudible] just has to buy the book. Okay, so we [inaudible] and we're going to start here and then Dee can do any animal voices that you want whether it's in the comic or not.
Dee Bradley Baker: Alright from 34 to where?
(The panelists get ready and A_M flips the book.)
Avatar_Mom: 34 until... I wanna say it's 44...
Dee Bradley Baker: Woah!
Avatar_Mom: Nope, nope. 42. We end when Iroh is serving someone tea so I just [inaudible] Mae with Katara.
Mae Whitman: Are we ready to do this? Are you guys-
(Audience shouts 'yeah!' and cheers. A_M attends to the boy reading Aang.)
Avatar_Mom: Alright, you're gonna read parts of Aang, okay? Alright, that's it.
Mae Whitman: And... action. (begins to read) Iroh! We didn't expect to find you here!
(Dee makes a Momo chirping noise)
Gene Yang: (reading as Iroh) Zuko, (Everyone laughs as they're still surprised by Dee's voicing of Momo) Zuko, your friends have arrived!
Aang's reader: Thank you for inviting us to your home, your fieriness! (Audience laughs) We've been out of touch for much too long!
(Dee makes another Momo sound effect)
Dante Basco: It's only been a week.
(The audience swoons)
Dante Basco: Where's Toph?
Jack DeSena: She had to stay at the Academy. Now that folks have seen the lily livers- I mean, her students in action, everyone and their mother wants to be a metalbender, even the Yu Dao police Chief went to visit her!
Mae Whitman: We came as soon as we received your message. What's this about?
(They flip to the next page)
Dante Basco: I recently obtained some new information about Ursa, my mother. It turns out she's from a small town called Hira- Hira'a?
(Audience laughs as Dante fumbles over the word Hira'a)
Dante Basco: Hira, I'm just going to [inaudible]
Gene Yang: [inaudible] when you read it.
Dante Basco: on the outskirts of the Fire Nation. I'm going there to look for her. Uncle Iroh's agreed to watch over things here while I'm gone.
Gene Yang: May you find who- and what- you are searching for, my nephew.
Aang's reader: That's great, Zuko! But it sounds like you've got everything covered...
Mae Whitman: ...So why do you need us?
Dante Basco: The information about my mother came at a cost. You see-
Aang's reader: Zuko, behind you!
Mae Whitman: How did you escape, Azula?!
Dante Basco: Katara, wait!
Aang's reader: Stay back! We don't want to hurt you!
Jack DeSena: Speak for yourserlf, Aang!
Azula's reader: Ha ha! Ignorant peasant! You really think you can take me on with a boomerang?
Jack DeSena: Let's find out!
Mae Whitman: Suki?
Jack DeSena: (nudges Mae) You can read it.
Mae Whitman: (as Suki's character) Sokka, stop! Let Zuko explain!
Jack DeSena: Suki!
(The audience whoops)
Dante Basco: Azula was the one who got the information from Ozai. Because she helped me out, we made a deal. She's going to come with me to look for our mother. And she's going to travel unbound with dignity.
(They flip to the next page)
Aang's reader: No offense, but that sounds like THE WORST PLAN EVER!
Dante Basco: I want you all to come with us.
Jack DeSena: Oooh oooh! New nickname for Zuko! How about Bad Decision Lord?
Gene Yang: Ever since my nephew ascended to the throne, he has yearned for peace. Finding Ursa may bring that peace- and not just for himself.
Aang's reader: We're your friends, Zuko. If you need us, we'll go.
(Comic moves on to the next day)
Aang's reader: Good morning, Azula! Beautiful day for a trip isn't it?
Azula's reader: Hmph. Be careful- (Dee makes an Appa growl and the audience laughs) Be careful when you put my luggage up on that shaggy beast of yours!
Mae Whitman: (as Ty Lee) Why do you have to be so mean all the time?
Mae Whitman: (as Suki) Appa has feelings, too!
Aang's reader: I know, buddy. It'll only be for a little while.
(Dee makes another Appa sound effect)
Mae Whitman: I still don't like it, Zuko.
Dante Basco: We'll need to take turns keeping an eye on her. Every moment of every day, at least one of us has to be totally focused on Azula.
(They flip to the next page)
Mae Whitman: Well, if worst comes to worst, there are four of us against one of her.
Jack DeSena: I'll take first watch!
Dante Basco: I appreciate the offer, Sokka, but maybe you should leave this to the benders.
Jack DeSena: No, I got it covered. Mr. Boomerang and I didn't appreciate her 'ignorant pesant' comment yesterday. We're gonna show her what we're made of!
Jack DeSena: Time to go, Azula! And no funny business or else- Wack-A-Pow!
Jack DeSena: YEOW!
Mae Whitman: Sokka-!
Jack DeSena: I'm okay!
Mae Whitman: Don't you ever touch him!
Azula's reader: Tell your brother not to wave his toy in my face!
Dante Basco: We made a deal, Azula! If we're going to do this together, you have to stay calm!
Azula's reader: Keep your merry band of misfits in check, and we'll all get along fine.
Jack DeSena: I changed my mind, one of you take first watch.
(Audience laughs and they flip a page. Dee makes another Appa growl.)
Gene Yang: To think that I ever aspired to become Lord of this dreary palace.
Mae Whitman: (as Suki) Anything we can do to make you feel more at home, Iroh?
Gene Yang: You see, the problem with the Fire Nation is exactly this- for the past hundred years we have had too many weapons, and too little tea.
Gene Yang: That's it! I have discovered my first order of business as interim Fire Lord! I will declare a National Tea Appreciation Day!
(Audience laughs and whoops)
Avatar_Mom: Thank you very much.
(Audience cheers and claps. Everyone who voiced a character gets to keep the copy of the comic they read from.)
Avatar_Mom: [inaudible] time. I know some of you were asked to come up for a cosplay competition but we also have a competition online, a haiku contest and so I have some in here so I have to have him [Jack DeSena] read.
(Jack gives a nod and the audience whoops. A_M passes the haiku contest entries to Jack.
Jack DeSena: Okay.
Avatar_Mom: He's going to read us some poetry.
Jack DeSena: (to Mae) Will you syllable count for me?
Mae Whitman: Yeah. (lifts her fist up in preparation)
Jack DeSena: [inaudible] Amanda F. Winter Spirit stirred. In shifting snow and shadow. Restless discontent. [inaudible]
Mae Whitman: (counts the syllables with her fingers) Correct.
Jack DeSena: Bam! SiWongDesert. In a metal cage. Bounty hunters are ensnared. By a Blind Bandit.
Mae Whitman: Yup.
Jack DeSena: Rosa. Daughter of spring's earth. Protector of airbenders. Lin is my hero.
(Jack gives a nod and Dee smiles widely. The audience awws and cheers.)
Avatar_Mom: (in a fangirl voice) Thank you Sokka!
Avatar_Mom: Okay, so we have some cosplay competitors [inaudible] so if you have a ticket, what I need you to do is I need you to come up to the front and then they (points to the panelists) are going to judge you. They're going to be the ones that are going to mark next to a tally saying they like you the best and whatever and then we will tell you who is the third- Oh, don't be shy.
Dante Basco: [inaudible] have against the Fire Nation?
Mae Whitman: Well, 'cos you have two Water Tribe people here so take it easy.
(The audience talk amongst themselves as they wait for the cosplay contestants to go to the front of the room.)
Dee Bradley Baker: I also want to say Janet Varney was on a train back to Los Angeles. The voice of Korra says hello and sends her regards. She's not feeling well but she's here in spirit and you know that she loves you guys and she wishes you were here.
Avatar_Mom: If you- you're holding number one, can you hold your hand? Okay, so we have Yue.
Jack DeSena: Yue easy, easy first [inaudible]
Avatar_Mom: Okay, cosplayer two. (The cosplay contestants look to the side) I can't see you. Is that Toph?
Jack DeSena: [inaudible] Fire Nation Toph.
Avatar_Mom: Okay, number three? One second... Korra? Four? (A cosplayer dressed as The Painted Lady raises her hand) Can't see you Painted Lady... very nice, I've done Painted Lady before, it's not easy. Number five?
Cosplayer #5: Right here.
Avatar_Mom: We have Kyoshi.
(Camera pans to the Kyoshi cosplayer as she poses with her fan props)
Avatar_Mom: Number six? (Camera moves down to the end of the line and a cosplayer dressed as Kuruk raises his hand) Oh, cool! Okay, what are- you are? [inaudible]
Cosplayer #6: Kuruk.
Avatar_Mom: Kuruk, right? (The cosplayer nods) Alright.
(Someone sneezes cutely in the audience and they laugh.)
Avatar_Mom: Seven? Where's number seven? You are... Asami. I'm so sorry. Eight?
Cosplayer #8: Kya.
Avatar_Mom: Kya. Nine? Who is nine? Oh, (A_M's voice turns all affectionate) little Ursa. (The audience awws) And then ten? Oh, Azula.
(The audience laughs)
Avatar_Mom: Okay, so hopefully you can read my writing. I have no artist at all. So basically you're just gonna look at them and then if you like them, put the tally marks next to them. The taller marks- Yeah, I know... (picks the mic up) So everyone kinda stand [inaudible] so they can see you.
Dee Bradley Baker: So do we vote once? Or how do we do this?
Avatar_Mom: You just only vote once. So whoever your favorite is and then you put a tally mark and then I count who has the most votes. I know, it's a tough one. (Dee says something inaudible) I know.
(The panelists passes the vote sheet down the table and they make their votes.)
Dee Bradley Baker: (Dee points to an empty spot in front of the panelist table) [inaudible] stand right here and we-
Avatar_Mom: Why don't you guys come down this way so they can see you? Spread out, I know it's not a lot of room. [inaudible] (A_M addresses the Cabbage Merchant cosplayer) Victor, when it comes down your end will you count?
Avatar_Mom: When it comes down your end will you count the tallies? Okay.
Dee Bradley Baker: Are you guys in order?
(The contestants shake their heads and say 'no'.)
Dee Bradley Baker: Could you stand in order from one to ten?
(The cosplayers line up in sequence. There is some chatter in the background by the panelists that is inaudible. Jack can be heard saying which character is which number on the list.)
Avatar_Mom: Oh no, you guys are doing great. Moving along fast now, awesome. Perfect. Okay, that makes it so much easier to [inaudible]. Thank you.
(Dee says something inaudible and the panelists continue to chatter.)
Avatar_Mom: Just pass it down. If you're still thinking, just pass it down and then bring it back.
(The panelists chatter amongst themselves but it is inaudible. Praises can be heard by the panelists. Dante says something really fast but it is muffled. His words garners fangirl squees. More inaudible chatter is heard.)
Dee Bradley Baker: Has everyone in the audience seen you guys? Make sure you face the audience.
Mae Whitman: One last round.
(The audience cheers and claps)
Avatar_Mom: Okay so, it looks like Azula is our first winner.
(Audience whoops and claps)
Avatar_Mom: And then Yue.
(More claps and applause are heard)
Avatar_Mom: And then Ursa.
(Audience continues to cheer and applaud)
Avatar_Mom: I wanna [inaudible] 'cos we're getting kicked out of the room but I wanna take two seconds to thank everyone for coming, we're gonna get a bigger room next year and thank you so much for supporting us. (squees) Just thank you for coming down.
(Audience cheers one last time)
Avatar_Mom: [inaudible] Thank you so much and leave in an orderly manner and show everyone how good we are in this [inaudible]
(The audience get up but appear to be heading towards the panelist table instead. Dee does another Momo chirp.)
Avatar_Mom: You guys get to keep the books if you read them. Yeah, so those books are for you.
(A_M begins to pack up while the audience lingers at the panelist table)
[Recording ends and the panel ends there]
Transcriber's note: Again, a huge thanks to SiWongDesert for recording the panel.
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